I've noticed a certain ambivalence about influence in the Second Life community. On one hand, there is definitely a core group of people who tend to be out in front on emerging issues, inspire cross-blog coverage of the topics they write about, and have large and responsive social networks.
On the other hand, we disparage "SLebrity" and recoil at the idea of intentionally trying to become influential. Chestnut Rau, one of the bloggers named in the Levity Magazine article, put it this way:
I don't even want to be influential. I don't have anything to sell or any well planned agenda whatsoever. I don't want to spur other people to do things. I don't want to change your opinion. I do not seek to influence the debate about LL, virtual worlds, the state of the economy, politics, nature vs nurture, punk or pop, whether or not Elvis is really dead, who should be voted off the island or even what book you should read next. Honestly.I like and respect Chestnut. There's an idealistic part of me who agrees that creativity should emerge for it's own sake and not because of some external purpose; that influence should arise naturally from the value of your ideas and actions, rather than from a strategic campaign to impact the hearts and minds of others. But practically speaking, if you want to be a positive force in the world (virtual or otherwise) you will need to influence other people.
For instance, Saturday's "Art of Micro-Storytelling" presentation at the VWBPE was designed to encourage people to experiment with micro-storytelling for themselves. Ideally, some educators would even be influenced to try micro-storytelling in their classes. I was definitely trying to be influential. And I see that as a good thing.
What do you think? Do you cringe at the idea of someone trying to influence you or do you value outspoken and thought-provoking people in the community? Do you see SLebrities as narcissistic attention whores or valuable thought-leaders?